Friday, September 8, 2017


I had meant to mention one man but Jerry Pournelle died today and so there must be two men who have stepped into the clearing at the end of the path. Flying Officer Ken Wilkinson was one of the Last of the Few. There are scarcely a dozen left of the men who flew for the RAF in the Battle of Britain today and yet I lived all my life in the fading shadow of those giants. It's hard to believe I'm getting old but there it is. I was born in Germany, still occupied by the US Army 16 years after the wars end and yet when I saw the movie of the Battle of Britain at Fort Myer when it came out, there I was, convinced that I'd done that thing. Deja vu.

Jerry Pournelle was a writer that I admired. He collaborated with one of the best writers of our time on a number of books and I've read them all. He had a pretty good grasp on the future and his books reflected it. He also wrote for BYTE magazine and I used to read his column every time it showed up back in the day when Borders was still the store that ruled the Sevegram and stocked it at the door.

He maintained his approach to tech and computers all his life unlike me who just said, "STOP!" I stopped Windows at XP Pro and allow my mac to update when I feel like it. If new things are incompatible with what I run I don't run to update, I simply ignore. That said, I recently downloaded a new editing software and may actually use it in times to come. Jerry wrestled hard with tech. In a way he reminded me very much of Lex who said he preferred wrestling snakes in the cockpit to cubeville. I totally agree.

Farewell and God rest ye merry gentlemen.


OldAFSarge said...

I am stunned at Jerry Pournelle's passing, a great writer.

FO Wilkinson, yet another of the generation who preserved the West for a bit longer.

Growing old is a trial at times, innit?

HMS Defiant said...

I find it so. It still beats the alternative but not by much. Just watched the utube version of Walting Mathilda and Sulva Bay. I had some high hopes for the 21st century back when I was young.